PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Medical students and doctors marched in a protest against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as a radio station reported that the death toll rose to eight from a shooting at an anti-government march earlier in the week.

The march Wednesday, part of a wave of anti-government demonstrations that have roiled the Caribbean nation since September, comes as the government prepares for celebrations marking Haiti’s 200th anniversary of independence from France on Jan. 1.

The nation has been in turmoil since Aristide’s Lavalas Family party swept 2000 elections that some observers said were flawed.

The protest led by doctors and medical students, which began at the University of Haiti’s Medical School, drew about 2,000 people.

“I’m here because I don’t agree with how Aristide is running the country,” said Sen. Dany Toussaint, who was elected in 2000 as a member of the Lavalas Family and broke ranks to become an independent. “Too much blood, too much violence.”

Many in the crowd complained of attacks by Aristide supporters.

“How can we work with fear that patients will be beaten?” said Dr. Gerord Boyer.

Separately, Haitian officials raised the death toll from an anti-government protest Monday in Gonaives, on Haiti’s west coast. Previously, authorities had said one person was killed, but that has since been raised to eight, private Radio Vision 2000 reported, citing witnesses.

Police confirmed the death toll was higher but did not provide details or say whether those killed government opponents, supporters or bystanders. A government spokesperson could not be reached for comment.    

12/25/03 10:49 EST

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